Public favour net zero being built into UK COVID recovery

Education, choice, fairness and political consensus are the key principles the public believe should underpin the UK’s path to net zero, Climate Assembly UK has found.

On 10 September, it published its final report, having been commissioned by six House of Commons Select Committees to build understanding on the public’s preferences for how the UK tackles climate change. A majority of assembly members (79%) either “strongly agreed” or “agreed” steps taken by the government to help the economic recovery, post COVID-19, should be designed to help achieve net zero.  

Another significant number (93%) said that they would in favour of government, employers and others taking steps to encourage lifestyles to change to be more compatible with reaching net zero as lockdown eases.

On decarbonising heating, members favoured tailored solutions that enable local authorities and local organisations to choose solutions suited to their local areas. Hydrogen (83%), heat pumps (80%) and heat networks (80%) were cited as the best technologies to use for zero carbon heating, while assembly members were also found to favour placing an emphasis on the shift to electric vehicles (EVs). They recommended a ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2030-35.

The commissioning committees have written to the Prime Minister, calling on him to ensure the government acts on the recommendations made. They have also written to the leaders of other parties, setting out the role they can play in delivering cross-party consensus on reaching net zero – another thing found important to assembly members.

Climate Assembly